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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BREAKING: Reliable source - all police to be retained, no layoffs

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE

The agreement announced earlier in a City Hall press conference is reconfirmed - no police will be laid off based on a reliable unconfirmed source.

The agreement stands with follow through of sufficient retirements as agreed between City Hall and the police unions.

More to come.

Update: Another independent source has confirmed the deal between the police worked out to seek retirements stopping any layoffs has been completed.

The final two retirements completed by the December 2nd deadline means no Hoboken Police Officers will lose their jobs.

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BREAKING: Mayor finalizes police demotions

ZIMMER ADMINISTRATION COMPLETES POLICE DEMOTION PLAN

The Zimmer Administration is following through on the planned demotions of superior officers. The demotions are a component of the Administration’s comprehensive efforts, including a new redeployment plan which places 38 percent more police on the streets and a shared services agreement with the Housing Authority, to create a more efficient and cost-effective police force.

On September 29th it was announced that a total of 19 demotions were scheduled to occur on December 2nd with adjustments to reflect any additional retirements that might take place during that time. Due to cost savings achieved through retirements, the total number of demotions has been reduced to 11. The officers being demoted are determined exclusively by seniority and civil service rules. As a result of cost savings achieved through retirements, no police officers will lose their jobs.

“Particularly during these economic times, I’m very sensitive to how difficult layoffs and demotions can be for families, and I have worked incredibly hard to minimize that pain,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “At the same time, residents are struggling with unacceptably high taxes that threaten to make our town unaffordable to them. That’s why I’m incredibly thankful to all the officers who made the very personal decisions to retire which eliminated the need for layoffs and reduced the need for demotions.”

The demotions reflect the Division of Local Government Services audit which recommended that the superior officer structure be modified from 1 Chief, 4 Captains, 18 Lieutenants and 30 Sergeants to 1 Chief, 3 Captains, 12 Lieutenants and 26 Sergeants.

In September, Mayor Zimmer announced a Police redeployment plan that dramatically increased the number of police personnel assigned to patrol Hoboken’s streets by 38 percent from 72 to 99 officers. The plan also created a power shift from 8pm to 4am to increase street patrols from approximately 9 officers to more than 20 officers during peak activity hours. In addition, five police positions were saved through an interlocal agreement between the City of Hoboken and the Hoboken Housing Authority which established a Housing Authority Bureau to increase safety in the Housing Authority area.

Update: Since this release, MSV heard from a journalist colleague the actual final number of demotions is 12.

Via Blogpress

City Council Showdown tonight @ 7:00




Tonight's City Council meeting should provide an interesting clash.  The first item is the parking spaces to maintain the Corner Cars program.  The City signed a two year contract with Hertz and as part of that agreement, the cars are parked in neighborhoods within easy reach of residents.  But the Council of No now with a majority thanks in part to the unethical bankrolling of over $13,000 by Councilwoman Beth Mason now seats Tim Occhipinti on the dais, giving five potential votes to either kill or sabotage the program.

Councilwoman Castellano an avowed opponent of the program and the lone vote against when the program began stated a plan yesterday to unplug the success of the program by removing the visible successful 1,000 resident users in their respective neighborhoods pushing them into parking lots and garages.

Councilman Nino Giacchi, a practicing lawyer said he "doesn't know" if an ordinance is needed for the program.  Has Mr. Giacchi even looked into finding out about what the contract says?  He sponsored the program with Councilman Dave Mello.  If a lawyer doesn't know the obligations of a contract, who can help him?

The mayor and supporters of the Hertz Connect Corner Cars program are asking people to come and express their support.  Will the Council of No listen?  Will Councilman Nino Giacchi know the contract's obligations by the time of a vote?

Tune in at 7:00.  The Corner Cars program is item number one!

Right on the back of that is the resolution affirming an investigation into the problems now finding their way to Trenton in the Attorney General's Office.  As the numerous issues are under review, the resolution asks the AG to do a complete investigation.

How will Occhipinti's backers, especially Councilwoman Mason and Councilman Russo react?  In 2007, nothing was on the desk of the Attorney General, nor was their any criminal referral even reaching the county prosecutor but they and the City Council voted unanimously to support the very same type of resolution.

Mayor Zimmer invites public to speak at City Council tonight

Dear Friends,
I need your help more than ever to keep our City moving forward.   
From now on, I am going to be sending you regular updates
on the issues facing our City, and letting you know how your voice can
make the difference.
     
Tonight the Council will be voting on some important issues. 
Please come and speak up if you can, or send an email to me at dzimmer@hobokennj.org and your City Council representatives
to ensure that they are listening to your voices.


First Items on Tonight’s City Council Agenda (See details below):
  1. Corner Cars at Risk
  2.  Speaking up in Support of Clean Elections
  3. Big issues on the horizon
  4. On the fun and festive side: Happy Chanukah! 
 1. Corner Cars at Risk: Just yesterday several moms wrote and told me
they gave up their cars and are using Corner Cars to reduce expenses in these tough economic times.  They told me this program has made the difference between being able to make ends meet, or being pushed out of Hoboken. 


This innovative program is changing over 1,000 people’s lives, helping to
alleviate our parking problem, and bringing revenue to the City.   


Please come tonight or email and let the Council know that Hoboken
needs to follow through on its 8-1 vote this spring that clearly supported
the Corner Cars agreement.


By casting that vote months ago, they made a commitment to the people
of Hoboken that have already signed up for the program, and they need to
follow through on that commitment.  Many participants are rightly furious
that they sold their cars based on the Council’s previous full support of
Corner Cars, and now some Council members seem to be inexplicably
changing their positions and opposing the continuation of the program in
the agreed upon form. 


Please ask the Council to cast two votes:  One vote in support of a temporary resolution that provides a bridge to the ordinance that will provide parking spaces for the program until the end of the 2-year contract. The ordinance is important because Corner Car participants and potential new members need to know that they program will be here for the duration of the two year contract. 

2.  Speaking up in Support of Clean Elections:  As you may have heard,
after the recent 4th Ward election a referral was made by the Board of Elections to the County Prosecutor’s office as a result of an investigation by the Superintendent of Elections.  


The County prosecutor has referred the matter to the Attorney General for review and a determination as to whether a criminal investigation should be commenced.
  
Councilman Bhalla and 5th Ward Councilman Cunningham have sponsored a resolution urging the Attorney General to conduct a full and complete investigation so that we can find out whether the allegations made are true or false. 


If the allegations are true people must be held accountable in the interest of having free and fair elections.

You might remember that in 2007 a very similar resolution passed 9-0 that
called on the Attorney General to investigate any possible evidence of wrongdoing in my City Council election.  As a candidate I believed it was my responsibility to fully support and cooperate in any investigation and knew that I had nothing to hide.


The resolution in 2007 was passed based on unsubstantiated allegations made by the candidates in the context of a civil election challenge.  The matter was never before any law enforcement agency because there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing with respect to either of the two campaigns.


In this case, the matter is before the Attorney General as a result of an
independent investigation by Marie Borace, the Superintendent of Elections
and a referral voted upon by the Hudson County Board of Elections. 


These facts make the proposed resolution before the Council even more appropriate and necessary than the resolution that passed 9-0 with my support in 2007.  Those who incorrectly believe that there was wrongdoing in 2007 should be the strongest supporters of this resolution.  


If wrongdoing occurs chronically in Hoboken elections that is the strongest possible argument for working to put a stop to it right now.


3. Big issues on the horizon:  Today I am meeting with Applied and engineers on the waterfront issues.  Tomorrow I will be making an announcement regarding the Police. 
I am also headed down to Trenton to meet with the State Health Commissioner to advocate for Hoboken University Medical Center. We have some excellent opportunities for the sale of the hospital that will ensure that it remains an important service for all Hoboken residents and removes our city from its $52 million bond guarantee. The board will soon be making a recommendation to the community regarding the sale, and I hope you will come and support this effort. 


4. On the fun and festive side: Happy Chanukah!  (Tonight is the first night of the holiday).   Tomorrow night I am looking forward to the opening night of the Mile-Square Theater’s holiday show, the City’s holiday craft fair will be held this weekend at the Monroe Center.  Please come support Hoboken’s arts community while you get your holiday shopping done and enjoy a number of family programs throughout the weekend.  The Hoboken Dance Academy production of the Nutcracker is  this weekend too!

Visit hobokennj.org for all the details.

Wishing you and your families a very happy holiday season!


Mayor Zimmer

City Weather and Parking Advisory

WIND ADVISORY AND REDUCED RATE GARAGE PARKING FOR FLOOD-PRONE AREAS

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for our area from 9am to 3pm on Wednesday, December 1st.

In anticipation of the potential for flooding due to the rain, the Hoboken Parking Utility is extending the courtesy to Hoboken residents with Residential parking permits to keep their vehicles in Garage B (located on 2nd Street between Hudson and River streets) until 8:00PM today at the reduced Resident rate of $5.00.

As always, residents who park in flood prone areas are advised to monitor weather conditions and move their vehicles if there is the potential for flooding. A map of flood-prone areas is available on the City website: http://hobokennj.org/departments/environmental-services/storm-flood-zones/

Residents are strongly urged not to move or drive around any barricades on flooded streets.

Wind Precautions
High winds are possible in Hoboken today, December 1st. Be sure your property (including construction sites) is secure.

Bring in unsecured objects from patios and balconies and secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture or garbage cans that could blow away and cause damage or injury.

The safest place to be during high winds is indoors. If at all possible postpone outdoor activities.

Watch for flying debris. Tree limbs may break and street signs may become loose during strong wind gusts. Keep an eye toward nearby balconies for loose objects that may fall.

Report downed lines to 201-420-2007 (Hoboken Fire Department) or 911 for assistance. Do not try to free lines or to remove debris yourself.

Avoid anything that may be touching downed lines, including vehicles or tree branches. Warn others to stay away.



- Via Blogpress

Councilman Peter Cunningham: Join us at City Council tonight to support Corner Cars

Councilman Peter Cunningham released the following communication on tonight's City Council meeting:

Dear Family Friends and Neighbors,

Tomorrow there will be an important vote on the Hertz Corner Car program - again. Personally, I support the car sharing program for many reasons, and hope that you will consider joining us tomorrow at the City Council meeting to do the same.

It's an innovative public private partnership - parking program. This is a smart, economical and efficient relationship between corporate America and local government. There are 42 Hertz cars on Hoboken Streets. In less than six months, there have been 45 residential parking permits turned in. So as far as taking parking spots away, we are better than even in less than six months. And on top of it over a 1,000 residents have subscribed to the program. Hertz pays Hoboken for the space at $100 per month, and that's over $50,000 per year. Some have question the amount, saying it's not enough. Some have said "this was a no bid contract" with Hertz. Wrong, those are falsities. There were several bids, and the Hertz bid was the best bid for the City and it's residents.

It provides convenience and savings to the user. Cars are within a five minute walk from your house/condo and can save you up to 5,000 per year in car payments and insurance.

It is "going green" for our urban community as all vehicles are fuel efficient. It offers an additional transportation option whether you have no car, or two cars.

Lastly, to build a parking garage costs millions of dollars, plus planning and construction time. Why not seize this unique opportunity to do something good for our environment, create parking, convenience and savings within six months! The contract is for only two years, so imagine what we can accomplish...

Please join us tomorrow night to support this innovative parking program that's good for Hoboken in so many ways. Meeting starts at 7pm. Thanks and please forward around, and as usual, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

--
Peter Cunningham


- Posted using BlogPress

Councilman Dave Mello: Come advocate tonight at City Council for the Corner Cars Program

Councilman Dave Mello, an original co-sponsor of the  Hertz Corner Cars program released this communication on tonight's City Council meeting at City Hall:

Dear Readers,

Hoboken's Corner Cars program has been one of the most progressive transportation options offered to residents of this City, directly by this City, in the thirteen plus years that I've had the privilege of living here.  I was honored, along with Sixth Ward Councilman Giacchi, to sponsor the ordinance that created the program.

In the less than six months that the program has existed, close to one thousand Hoboken residents have signed up for Corner Cars, and forty five remaining residents, and counting, have given up their residential parking permits.  The program has been nothing short of a slam dunk.

By signing up for this program, and certainly by giving up their resident stickers, substantial numbers of Hoboken residents have made a significant and major commitment to Corner Cars.  It's time that Hoboken's City Council match this commitment.  It's time that our Council pass an ordinance that will bring certainty to this program for the entire year and a half that is left on the contract between the City of Hoboken and Hertz.  It's time that Hoboken's government bring some degree of certainty to the lives of the many residents who have embraced our Corner Cars program; avoiding unnecessary governmental vacillation every ninety days, and further avoiding shaky legal ground for the creation of these spots to stand upon, in the first place.

Our residents have committed to this program in droves.  Isn't it high time that our Council match their level of commitment?

This program has, in the short-term, cost our City an investment of a mere forty two street parking spaces.  It has already yielded returns of close to one thousand resident members and forty five residents relinquishing their residential parking permits.  A few short months into this program, we've already created a net gain of three spots during peak times.  And, this doesn't even factor in the immeasurable number of new residents who have opted not to bring a car into Hoboken because the Corner Car program exits, in our historically transient community.

Please join me in advocating for the passing of the ordinance tonight, on first reading, which will finally, and unequivocally, support and commit to our progressive Corner Cars program.  The meeting begins at 7:00 pm in City Council Chambers (the City Courtroom) of City Hall.

Hope to see you then.

Sincerely,

David Mello

City Councilman At-Large
The City of Hoboken